Perfect Moment (a sonnet for my children)

When light of day first shone upon your face
An end to waiting years and aching heart
Placed in my arms I felt our first embrace
My sweet love, you and I will never part

I did not know how sweetly you would wake
New eyes were closed, new nose took breath complete
But when I saw you I would not mistake
That you were you, as sep’rate hearts did meet

Two lives, once joined, now start their lives apart
Yet bonded close by ties that won’t be torn
You came from both my body and my heart
For you, sweet love, I was made to adore

As days pass slowly new life hits its stride
With hands clasped firm as we walk side by side

6 thoughts on “Perfect Moment (a sonnet for my children)

  1. Hi, Kat. You mentioned in your tweet the desire to make your sonnet sound “natural.” That one word is loaded with possible meanings. My take on it, in the most general sense, is the flow, the telling and revealing of the story in the poem. Is that what you mean?

    1. That’s part of it. I think another part is making the structure of the form not dominate what is being said. You mentioned on your blog the aspect of sonnet writing that is knowing what is needed and filling it in. I know exactly what you mean by this, but in the end one hopes that the reader doesn’t first think “sonnet in iambic pentameter” but rather have this be secondary to meaning. I think part of how Edna St Vincent Millay achieved this is through use of informal language, where some of her sonnets sound like thoughts or conversations. Thanks so much for reading and discussing this with me.

      1. Have you read the range of “sonnets” on dVerse Poets from Thursday night? If not, read them. The host, Kelvin, asked for submittals based on an alteration of the classic sonnet form into a Trireme Sonnet (these terms are new to me). Even with this variation you’ll see how liberally defined in form some of them are. This doesn’t diminish their appeal for the most part. So, unless your a conformist like me looking for adherence to form, you’ll usually just enjoy the poetic experience. I like forms. They eliminate the decision on what the poem is going to look like, freeing me to focus on what I want to say. Glad to discuss this with you. I’m still learning so much myself.

        1. Thanks – I hadn’t heard of dverse. I’ll check them out. Cummings did some extreme sonneting too (of course). Always nice to see what others do with a form. Thanks for everything.

  2. Kat, this is a beautiful sonnet, perfectly expressing your great love for your children.

    I see that you wrote it in the English sonnet form of three quatrains and the final couplet a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g). I think you do a great job in the first two quatrains of describing the anticipation, delay, and hurt in the phrase “an end to waiting years and aching heart” and the surprise at this new life, part of you, but distinct, individual.

    In the third quatrain and couplet you bring everything together, transitioning to a new type of bonding with your child, different from the pregnancy when you were both in a sense biologically “one.” Going forward the unity between you and your child is forged in love, a choice to walk together through life. As inseperable as you both were when the child was in your womb, now physical separation – birth and growth – adds a new element, individual human distinctiveness (your child’s), to the relationship. You promise to be there, to “walk side by side.” Lovely.

    That’s what I see in your sonnet.

    As a note, I know you admire Millay’s sonnets, most of which were written in the Petrarchan form. Check out one of her’s and see how she speaks in image and allusion, saying things without saying them. We ponder them, see them, feel them, and then acquire understanding. The reader works a little bit. We can all learn from her example.

    1. Thank you for your kind analysis, Jay, and yes, you’ve captured the meaning quite well. I’ve been thinking about and working on the concept of a “leap” in a poem or making the reader work a little bit as you say. It’s the reason I’ve started to dabble in haiku, which is all about juxtaposition and leap in a few words.

      The challenge, I think, is to make the leap wide enough to satisfy this (I do fear that the sonnet above is too literal and a good point of something to work on)…and yet not make the leap so wide as to lose the reader in the river! Some poems become incomprehensible and lose the function of communication (if that is at all the reason for writing it).

      I will look at the Millay sonnets again with this in mind. Thanks again for this discourse. Very enjoyable.

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